With Funding Approved, Construction to Begin on Pasadena’s New Water & Power Building

Feb. 9, 2009

Gonzalez Goodale Architects, Pasadena, CA, has announced that construction is set to begin next month on the new 31,400-square-foot Department of Water & Power building in Pasadena. A $17-million construction contract with Morillo Construction Inc. was approved by the Pasadena City Council on Dec. 15, 2008. Gonzalez Goodale, a firm focused on designing for public clients, was awarded a Merit Award by the Pasadena/Foothill chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for its design of the new civic project.

The new building, situated directly opposite an existing 1930s warehouse, which will be completely renovated in the second phase of the project to bring the building to current code standards, will house maintenance crews and supervisors. The plan calls for an urban, pedestrian-friendly space between the two structures that provides convenient access between departments. “We wanted to create a relationship between the two structures,” says Dennis Smith, AIA, project manager and architect at Gonzalez Goodale. “The tree-shaded, native landscaped pedestrian space will include seating areas and an evaporative cooling water feature that will rain from the façade of the new building.”

The City of Pasadena wanted the new Water & Power building to employ sustainability strategies that would meet Gold LEED standards and, as such, serve as a learning example for Pasadena’s emerging sustainable design program. Known for designing buildings with energy-efficient features and highly renewable materials, the team of architects at Gonzalez Goodale collaborated with both its in-house sustainability team and consultants to design a building that would meet the Gold LEED benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of a high-performance green building.

Environmentally conscious features of the building include extensive daylighting of interior footprints, native landscaping that will not require irrigation systems after one year, exterior screening systems that capture and dissipate heat into the atmosphere prior to entering the building, pervious paving to capture rainwater and minimize run-off, a roofing system that reflects the visible light spectrum thus reducing the heat load within the building, and a walk-off main entry mat to minimize and control cross-contamination of indoor air with pollutants. Ventilation will also be increased and the system monitored for proper air quality.

“The design of the building will not only support a Gold LEED rating, but it will also serve as a visually interesting architectural structure in a utilitarian, industrial area. Though the building’s exterior design is contemporary, it echoes the existing 1930s building to create a sense of balance on the campus,” notes David Goodale, AIA, design principal at Gonzalez Goodale.

The building, when complete, will include an expanded emergency operations center designed to employ the most advanced communication technology. Community leaders, including police and fire department officials will meet here in the event of a disaster. The city’s relocated water quality lab and utility network will also be housed within the new structure.

According to Armando Gonzalez, principal in charge of the project, transportation was a key consideration in offsetting energy consumption. “To promote sustainable means of transportation, bicycle racks will be installed, showers will be provided and parking preference will be given to vanpools, carpools and hybrid alternative fuel vehicles.” Staff parking will be located to the north of the building while city vehicles will park on the western side. Larger rigs will be sheltered from the elements by a photovoltaic array of approximately 7,000 square feet, reducing energy use by over 12 percent.

Of all the materials used in the project, 30 percent will be of recycled content; 10 percent will be mined, extracted, and manufactured within 500 miles of the project; at least 50 percent of all wood will come from sustainable harvested trees; and 75 percent of construction waste will be recycled and diverted from landfills.

Site demolition has begun and completion of the new Power & Water building is anticipated for July 2010.

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